Preaching the Gospel, Preparing a People

Letter From William Bradford - February 4, 2022

Letter From William Bradford

February 4, 2022

Before Passover what can we examine and judge?  

The Spring Holy Day season is just ten weeks away! As we begin to think about the Holy Days, let's consider the significance of this season which begins with Passover.   A good place to begin our preparations to observe the Passover in a worthy manner can be remembering the sacrifice that the Lord Jesus willing made for each individual member of the church.  Starting with a reflection on this sacrifice can foster an attitude of humility as well as an understanding of how valuable each of our spiritual brothers and sisters are to God.

In contrast, we see in the book of Corinthians a church that was challenged by a lack of humility and respect for others.  They had divisions within caused by pride and judgmental attitudes towards other members. Paul uses the word "puffed up" five times in 1 Corinthians to show the type of attitude that was present in their church at that time. The first occurrence in 1 Corinthians sums up the problem in Corinth. 

...that none of you may be puffed up on behalf of one against the other. (1 Cor 4:6b, NKJV) 

In 1 Corinthians Chapter 11, Paul warned that a "puffed up" attitude is an extremely serious matter.  He also described consequences that would result if someone were to have this attitude at the Passover service.  

For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death till He comes. Therefore, whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord's body. For this reason many are weak and sick among you, and many sleep. For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. (1 Corinthians 11:26 - 31, NKJV)  

One way we examine ourselves is to ask if we have a "puffed up" attitude. The Greek word translated "puffed up" (G5448 - physioo) means inflated or blown up. It implies an attitude of thinking highly of ourselves while looking down on others. This mindset forgets that each of us required the death of Jesus to forgive sin, providing a path for a personal relationship with the Father. When we remember the sacrifice Jesus made, we realize our shared condition before God.  It reminds us that one member should not be inflated above another member as all required the same sacrifice of Jesus for the forgiveness of sins. 

The examination we make before Passover, and our judgment of ourselves can be summed up by simply asking ourselves this question. Am I the tax collector or Pharisee in Luke 18? 

Also, He spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: "Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.  The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, 'God, I thank You that I am not like other men--extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector.  I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.'  And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, 'God, be merciful to me a sinner!'  I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted." (Luke 18:9-14, NKJV)  

As we consider this, if we find we have a Pharisee type approach here or there, we are encouraged to judge ourselves and with God's help, change.  When we see ourselves more like the tax collector, we participate in Passover in a worthy manner, without a "puffed up" attitude and with full appreciation for the amazing sacrifice that allows us to be reconciled with God. 

Have a wonderful Sabbath, and as the Apostle, Peter stated, "Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord" (2 Peter 1:2 NKJV). 

-Bill Bradford